At the close of 2009, the eCommerce Times article “Getting Small Firms on Board With BPM” identified a major obstacle to business process management adoption: reluctance to change. Is that still the case? In a difficult market like this one, I’d hope that most are willing to try nearly anything to streamline operations and increase revenue. So months later, now that many understand that small business BPM can help restructure resources, operations, and policies, what’s still stopping us?
Take Victoria’s Vittles, a small (fictitious) catering company in Seattle: Vickie may not realize that client order processing is going to come to a screeching halt in 6 months because of inefficiencies in inventory handling. What she does know is that this mismanagement is extending processing time by at least 3 days and clients, though loyal, are getting a little impatient when they call her one-man customer service department. She has no idea where to begin to fix things. And that is OKAY, because she doesn't even have to know what small business BPM is.
Think about it, when most of us visit a doctor for, say, that chronic case of indigestion, we don’t know really know how to go about fixing our troubles. We do know our symptoms and how we’d like to feel at some point in the foreseeable future. Likewise, small firms, when looking into progressive solutions, must have a list of inefficiencies and a goal in mind. Is it streamlined order handling? Realistic inventory forecasting? On-time payroll processing? Knowing your ailments and understanding how to communicate them will lead to the ultimate goal of process improvement, even if you’re not sure how to get there.
And that’s where small business BPM comes in. No one knows your business like you do, and documenting your current pain points is key to resolving them. BPMbasics is a great online community for BPM newbies and it even offers free webinars that are designed to bring you up to speed on all things BPM in 45 minutes or less… not bad. Once you’ve got the basics down pat, take a look at the BPM Institute for peer-to-peer advice on getting your own small business BPM initiatives started. Then come back to the IT Project Blog and share your comments!